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Kaitlyn Gillies

Writing for SEO – and humans.


January 27, 2020


When it comes to writing for on-page SEO – you’ve probably heard that it has something to do with knowing what content people are searching for – and then creating content in response to this (with the benefit, of course, being more relevant traffic on your website).

You might also think about what terms people might be searching for if they’re on the hunt for your service, and incorporate these into your website copy too. And if you’re doing any of those things we just mentioned (or you’re ready to try) then you are off to an amazing start, my friend.

But while you’re on your content-creating mission we want you to remember one thing – while you want to write something keyword-focused and make Google happy, you need to write for humans first and foremost.

We need to make sure our writing has some entertainment/enjoyment factor (and fits with our brand voice!). Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how keyword-rich our work is, no one is going to be reading it, and even if they do, they aren’t going to enjoy it, or come back to your site. (Side note: having an engaging website that people love using and spend lots of time on can be even more important for helping your SEO than just the words on your site. True story.)

Okay, okay, we get it, Kaitlyn. We need to do think about Google and the real people who read our blogs too. But how the heck do we do that?

Well we have a couple of tips for you – read on:

1. When brainstorming keywords, think about people’s questions (not just your answer)

When it comes to people finding your business online, think about your offering like the answer to their question (or search).

Let’s say you sell doughnut hampers and you deliver all around Toowoomba. Yum. Now naturally, you might think you need to focus on ranking in searches for “doughnut hampers Toowoomba”.

You’ve made sure that your website clearly states what you do, and you’re even ranking number one when people search for “doughnut hampers Toowoomba”! Winning!

There’s just one lil’ problem. You’re barely getting any traffic from organic searches. Let alone sales!

Time to investigate. You type “doughnut hampers Toowoomba” into a Keyword Planner tool (like SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs etc) and you check out how many people are actually searching for this term, and how hard it will be to show up in searches for it.

And then you see it.

There’s very little competition for this term, but… that’s because no one is actually searching for “doughnut hampers Toowoomba”


You did the market research, you know there’s demand for your service, you get heaps of orders from other channels – what is going on?

This is why we need to think outside the box. People are weird, unique and unpredictable. They won’t always find you by searching for the obvious things.

So our tip to you? Think about people’s questions – not your answer!

“doughnut hampers Toowoomba” is your answer. So, if someone is in the market for a doughnut hamper, but don’t necessarily know that’s an option for them just yet, what will they search for?

What is their question?

Probably something like “gift hampers Toowoomba”, “gift ideas Toowoomba” or “last-minute gifts order online” – and we bet you can think of 10 similar ideas off the top of your head.

Now go back and run these terms through your Keyword Planner of choice – hey look, people are actually searching for these!

So does this mean we shouldn’t bother ranking for “doughnut hampers Toowoomba” at all? Not quite. This is what your business does – so it’s still important that your website clearly communicates that. And thinking long term, you’ve found a niche and hopefully you’re going to expand this area of the market and increase demand for it in the future. When that happens, you’ll be glad you’re ranking for “doughnut hampers Toowoomba” after all.

But we know this won’t happen overnight – so to help boost your chances of appearing in searches shorter term, that’s where those broader terms like “gift hampers Toowoomba” come in.

2. Put your unique touch on popular topics

Now, let’s get a little more specific on choosing things to write about on your website, specifically for blog content.

Now let’s say you’re all across using your keyword planner, you’re finding heaps of juicy terms that are high volume and low competition, and you’re ready to start pumping out some blogs.

You end up with a list of topics that looks something like:

  • “last-minute gift ideas”
  • “birthday gifts Toowoomba”
  • “buy gifts online”

Okay, so if we’re thinking about blogging for on-page SEO – then we should write a blog on this topic, mention that term throughout (without keyword stuffing) and make sure the keywords we’re targetting are all in the heading, right?

Well, that is right, but we don’t want to stop there. The problem is – a blog called “last-minute gift ideas” is kinda boring, probably won’t get clicked on, and doesn’t give your audience a whole lotta value (since it’s the same thing 100 other brands have already written about).

To really get the most out of your blog, and have it add value to your brand, you want to build a loyal audience that comes back to your website again and again. You want to give them something interesting and helpful to read that they can’t get anywhere else!

So let’s rethink these topics a little. How can we make them more interesting, and put our own take on them?

What about something like:

  • Lifesaving gifts for the last-minute shopper
  • 10 birthday present ideas for the sweet tooth in your life
  • 5 online gift shops that ship anywhere in Australia

See the difference?

Now you’re ready to get writing!

Want to learn more about writing for SEO?

Next month in the Oh My Digital Membership, we’ll be focusing on all things SEO for beginners, including debunking some SEO myths, and demystifying some common SEO terms so you can feel more confident either DIYing or hiring someone to help you out.

Members will be getting our No-BS SEO Glossary in their inbox next Wednesday (5 Feb 2020) at 11am AEST, so if you want us to personally decode all those scary SEO terms and buzzwords that experts like to hurl in your direction, jump on board.

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